Sant Sucha Singh: The Founder of Jawaddi Taksal
Dr. Jasbir Kaur
The origin of Gurmat music, notationing the Bani o the Bani of Guru Nanak abd discipling it in Raagas and musical rhythm was a unique experience undergone by the Gurus. They not only delivered philosophical messages to attune human soul but human life also by composing the mystical Bani in Raagas. That is why Guru Nanak Sahib of sex, anger, avarice, attachment and pride on the instrument of human existence. History stands testimony to the fact that earlier only the Rabab players used to perform kirtan in the Guru Ghar. But Guru Amar Dass and Guru Arjan Dev regularized this tradition as is evident from Bhai Gurdas Bani,
"Gharu Gharu Andari Dharamsaal Hove Kirtan Sada Visoaa"
As the Gharana tradition has played a lead role in the development and propagation of Indian classical music, similarly the Taksaal tradition has contributed a lot towards the promotions if Gurmat Sangeet. These Taksaals imparted the primary education in Gurmat music.
First, the Gurus
established kirtan centers under the Gurmat music Taksaal tradition. The basic training owes its origin to these centers. The Saints set up their Ashrams along with the Gurdwaras. Where systematic training was imported in music. In Sikhism, Taksal implies an institution which provides training in Gurmat Sangeet.
Baba Sucha Singh, the founder of Gurdwara Gur Gian Parkash, Jawaddi Kalan, Ludhiana was a man dedicated heart and soul to the Gurmat music. He took over in 1985, the task of developing Gurmat musicology given by the Sikh Gurus and set up Jawaddi Taksaal. This is the site where Bhai Jawanda, a disciple of Guru Hargobind, had meditated the village Jawaddi owes its very name to Bhai Jawanda. Sant Baba Sucha Singh endeavoured to revive Gurmat music in a big way by organizing mega music concerts.
Thus the firm resolution and perseverance of the Baba resulted in the emergence of Vismaad Naad institution in 1991 which set in motion research on Gurmat music. The Baba establish contact with many celebrate Raagis and musicians. With the help of Raaga judgement committee instituted for this very purpose it was decided to discover the specified forms of 31 Ragas. The veteran maestros like Pandit Dalip Cander Bedi, Dr. Ajit Singh Paintal, Bhai Balbir Singh, Principal Baldev Singh Delhi, Dr. Gurnam Singh, Bibi Jasbir Kaur, Prof. Channan Singh Majboor, Prof. Paramjot Singh Mullanpur,
Principal Rajinder Singh Lucknow, Prof. Kartar Singh, Singh Bandhus Delhi, Ustad Jaswant Singh Bhanwra and Prithipal Singh Kang were invited to the Taksaal and after holding several meetings with them the forms (Parkar) of Ragas were discovered and notated. The eminent painters Jarnail Singh and Devinder Singh (Chandigarh) were assigned the task of portraying these Ragas in to paintings which later assumed the shape a colourful portrail series entitled Rag Sachittar Mala. For rendition of Gurbani in to the ragas in the forms laid down by the luminaries of music and imparting training in Gurmat music, the Baba founded Gur Shabad Sangeet Academy in the premises of the Gurdwara. Ustad Jaswant Singh Bhanwra, Prof. Kartar Singh, Dr. Jasbir Kaur, Prof. Paramjot Singh, Pro. Jatinder Pal Singh were appointed in the academy for teaching kirtan while Kulwinder Singh. The Tabla player was appointed to train the students of Academy in Talba. For imparting training in playing stringed instruments the Baba availed the services of Jaswant Singh Delhi, Kulraj Singh Batala, the Rabab-player and Gyani Gurcharan Singh, the Siranda-player. Now the training in Kirtan was systematized in the Taksaal. Along with kirtan, the students are also taught in leading a Sikh way of life.
The Baba organized the Adutti Gurmat Sangeet Sammelans to preserve the heritage of Gurmat music. In 1991 and 1992, the eminent Ragis were
made to sing pure and mixed Ragas of Guru Granth Sahib in the Sammelans while in 1993 the Ragis sang the selected Shabads from held in 1994 in Delhi with the cooperation of Delhi Gurdwara Managemant Committee and another such Sammelan was organized in 1995 during Vishaw Sikh Sammelan at Amritsar with the cooperation of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee. In the latter concert the well-known Kirtanists sang Shabads in 31 Ragas. In 1996 also, the kirtan was performed at Sachkhand Hazoor Sahib in accordance with the discipline laid down in Guru Granth Sahib. The Baba was honoured in this function at the Takht (Nanded Sahib). These Gurmat Sangeet Sammelans left a miraculous impact which developed in the Ragis a taste for performing Kirtan in Ragas and in the Sangat also, it kindled a longing to enjoy this qualitative kirtan. In 1997, the Taksaal organized a 3-day sammelan which had the performance of 31 Ragas, kirtan chaukis, Padtaals and Mixed Ragas as its highlight in 1998, a 4-day Sangeet Sammelan was held from 12th to 15 of November in which a part from Raga Durbar, Dhadi Durbar and Kavi Durbar were also organized. This sammelan turned out to be unique in its splendor and glory. The Dhadis Sohan Singh Seetal and Daya Singh Dilbar were honoured in this function. In 1999, the Taksaal organized Gurmat Sangeet Sammelan as usual from 5th to 10th of December. This sammelan withnessed the performance of folk-
lore forms enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib viz. Ghorian, Alauhnian, Laavan etc. beside the rendition of Raga Parkars (forms) by the traditional Ragis who were honoured on this occasion. These Ragis included Bhai Balbir Singh, Bhai Avtar Singh, Gurcharan Singh, Prof.Kartar Singh, Bhai Sumittat Singh, Bhai Gurmej Singh, Bhai Dilbagh Singh, Gulbagh Singh, Bhai Mansha Singh, Bhai Amrik Singh Zakhmi, Bhai Angad Singh Delhi, Bhai Chatar Singh Sinthi, Bhai Trilichan Singh Delhi, Bhai Sadhu Singh Dehradun and Bhai Jasbir Singh Pathankot etc.
With a view to cultivate love for Gurmat music among the students, the Baba organized the 10th Adutti Gurmat Sangeet Sammelan at Jawaddi Kalan itself in which Gurmat Sangeet Students' forum (Diploma in Gurmat Sangeet) Ludhiana Kirtaned on the basis of 31 specified Ragas. On 15th of December, the Jathas (groups) of Girls only kirtaned in the specific Ragas. This function aroused a special attraction for the audience. The pandal was packed to its fullest capacity with students from the schools and colleges of Ludhiana. The devotees in lacs, were regaled with the kirtan. During his address, Sant Sucha Singh urged the people to lead their life according to the sikh values cherished by the Gurus and shared his views as to why they should avoid kirtan on popular film tunes and prefer the Raga-based kirtan instead.
The Shabad-Kirtan performed lure the Adutti Gurmat Sangeet Sammelans was preserved in audio and video-cassettes. Through the audio cassette of 31 Shudh Ragas, 'Asa Di Var' by Bhai Balbir Singh, 'Gaudi Rag Sulakhni' cassettes having 12 Raga Parkars of Gaudi Raga, 2 cassettes containing Shabad-Hazare of the 10th Guru, Naad Tabla Solo, Sloka Mahalla Nauvan, Rag Rattan Rasna Aalaap-V.C.D., Slokas, Vaars and Vadheek, 'Asa Di Vaar' by Bhai Dilbagh Singh Gulbagh Singh etc. carried the message of Raga-based Kirtan across the entire country. Sant Sucha Singh, the founder of Jawaddi Taksaal revived a rich tradition which had since long been thrust into oblivion by the Sikhs. Not to stop here, that Baba got the monographs of the star Gurmat musicians written after proper research work. These musicians include Bhai Mardana, Bhai Satta Balwand, Bhai Babak, Bhai Mansha Singh, Bhai Samund Singh, Bhai Hira Singh, Bhai Santa Singh, Bhai Surjan Singh. Mahant Gajja Singh, Bhai Chand, Prof. Tara Singh. These monographs were made a part of Simrati Granth so that the coming generation may take advantage of it while researching on Gurmat music.
As the Sikh Gurus have been conferring honour in the distinguished kirtanists in their Durbars, the Taksaal too has toed their line by honouring every year the Ragis performing kirtan as per the tradition of Gurmat music. So far the Jawaddi Taksaal has honoured Bhai Balbir Singh, Bhai Avtar Singh,
Gurcharan Singh, Bhai Amrik Singh Zakhmi, Dr. Gurnam Singh, Bhai Hari Singh, Dr. Jasbir Kaur, Baljit Singh Namdhari, Dr. Jagir Singh and Bhai Harjinder Singh Srinagar with 'Gurmat Sangeet Award' for their achievements in this sphere. A book entitled 'Tin Paya Maan' was also ublished along with their pictures and biobraphical details.
From time to time the Jawaddi Taksal contributed a lot towards the propagation of Gurmat music by bringing out publications like Vismaad Naad, Raag Naad Shabad Sohne, Dhann Su Raag surangade, Swei Parkash, gaudi De Parkar, Guru Nanak Sangeet Padhti Granth, Raag Nirnei Sarup etc. Thus serving the cause of Gurmat music, the Baba passed away on 27 August 2002 after a proglonged illness, exposing the sikh community and Gurmat Sangeet to an irreparable loss. The great venture to revive Gurbani music in its pristine glory which he did was a milestone in the world of Gurmat music and Indian music. The Baba will be remembered for the centuries to come for this marvelous contribution.
Now-a-days Sant Gyani Amir Singh is working as the Chief of Jawaddi Taksaal. He is a well-known interpreter of Bani and well-versed in Gurmat music. He is trying his best to enreal the vision of his Master. In Gur Shabad Sangeet Academy, Prof. Sukhwant Singh is imparting training in Gurmat Sangeet to the students. He is assisted by Prof. Jatinder Pal Singh and Bhai Jaspal Singh as also
some other renowned musicians who are invited from time to time. Recently, the Taksaal organized Gurmat music workshops in Taran Taran, Amritsar and Ambala. The students from all over Punjab attended these workshops. Besides, there is sufficient arrangement for teaching correct recitation of Gurbani (Santhya), Katha-Kirtan, Tabla-playing and playing on stringed instruments. At present more than 250 students are receiving training in Gurmat music. The Taksaal makes all arrangements of their boarding and lodging. under the aegis of Jawaddi Taksaal training in Kirtan performance is being imparted at Gurdwara Sri Hargobindsar Dabrikhana Jaito (Faridkot), Haibowal Khurd Ludhiana, village Gadapur Ludhiana and Gurmat Sangeet Academy Toranto, Canada. The routine regular activities of the Taksaal include annual Adutti Gurmat Sangeet Sammelans preparing high Quality Gurbani reciters and interpreters, organization Simran trained in Punjab Gharana Tabla and stringed instruments from the maestros of high repute and motivating the people for the standardized kirtan.
Adutti Gurmat Sangeet Sammelan are a manifestation of the Baba's exercise to revive the tradition of kirtan based on the specified Ragas. Jawaddi Taksaal has a distinct identity of its own in the world.